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History of the League

The League was formed in 1957, when a number of senior clubs within the County became disillusioned at being dictated to by Junior and Minor clubs.

Initially called the Dorset Football Combination League, since its formation 53 clubs have been members of the League. But of the 12 founder members only Blandford Utd, Hamworthy United, Sturminster Newton, Swanage Town & Herston and Wareham Rangers are in membership today. The objective of the League on its formation was to increase the standard of football and competition throughout Dorset and neighbouring counties. An ideal that still holds good today.


For the 2019/2020 Season the League will be operating with 17 clubs, covering the entire county of Dorset, ranging from Bridport Res in the West, Portland Utd Reserves in the South, Gillingham Town in the North and Bournemouth Sports Parley in the East plus Westland Sports from the neighbouring county ofSomerset..


The inaugural season saw 12 clubs in membership with Swanage Town Football Club lifting the Championship and the 15th Training Battalion R.A.S.C. finishing as Runners-up. The following season the top two places were reversed.

In the first 5 seasons Swanage Town FC won the Championship 4 times and finished in Runners-up spot on the other occasion.


To date, the League's most successful side is Parley Sports FC who have won the League title on no less than 12 occasions as well as finishing in second place 9 times. Parley Sports have also reached the Final of the Combination Cup 21 times, lifting the trophy on 11 occasions.

In 1991 the Dorset Football Combination League accepted an invitation to become a Feeder League to the Wessex League, thus giving its member clubs the opportunity to progress through the National League System.


During 1995 the Dorset Football League were invited to become a Feeder League to the Dorset Combination and with agreement reached between the parties, from the end of the 1995/96 season the Champions of the Dorset League have had the opportunity for promotion to the Combination League providing they meet Leagues Ground Grading criteria.


Season 2002/03 saw the League change its name to the Dorset Premier Football League as it was felt that this more reflected the League's status.


In 2010/11 the League was granted it's FA Charter Standard League Status, only the third league in the FA’s jurisdiction to be so awarded at the time. The League is very proud of this achievement as it is a testament to its member clubs continued commitment to improve standards across our league.

In 2017/2018 the League accepted an invitation by the FA to become a trial league for its new Sin Bin initiative aimed at reducing the levels of dissent aimed at Match Officials on Match Day, The 2 year Trial has proved to be a great success with the League seeing a marked reduction in dissent across the League. 

During 2018 the Bournemouth Hayward Saturday League were invited to also become a Feeder League to the Dorset Premier Football League and with agreement finally reached between the parties, from the end of the 2018/19 season the Champions of the Bournemouth Hayward Saturday League have had the opportunity for promotion to the Dorset Premier Football League providing they meet the Leagues Ground Grading criteria.


The League operates a Representative side that not only plays friendlies they also play in the FA’s Inter League Cup Competition. To date the 2009/10 and the 2013/14 Competitions have been the League’s most successful campaigns when they lost in the Semi-Finals to the Guernsey League 3-2 and the Hertforshire Premier League 4-2 AET respectively.

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